10 Ways to Improve Performance Action Plans

Use Performance Action Plans to help employees improve their performance at work by identifying goals which are realistic, practical and measurable.

Here are ten practical ways to create performance reviews. Let’s get started.

Performance Indicators

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How to Write a Performance Action Plan

Before you start, explain to the employee what is involved in this assessment. Show them what’s expected of them and discuss how it will make their role at the business more enjoyable.

Step 1: Pre-assessment

Arrange a meeting with the employee and discuss how the process works. Give them examples of other reviews to reduce their anxiety and build more trust. This creates better communications and encourages the person to discuss their goals in a more informal manner. If you overlook this step, the employee may feel ambushed and clam up during the interview.

Step 2: Create the Action Plan

In this document, identify what was discussed, what concerns arose, what comments were made that expressed concern, fears or hopes from the employee. List what actions were agreed upon and what next steps were agreed. If the person was hostile and did not agree, discuss what contingencies were arranged.

Step 3: Define Employee Goals

While most of the meeting is about goals for the future, you also need to capture what areas they failed in or were less successful.

The point is to see where, how and why their performance has suffered and then agree on steps to improve this.

This may involve reviewing the person’s job description and seeing which tasks they have done best or worse that other co-workers.

Step 4: Morale

This involves discussing how the person influences the performance on the department, business unit, and company. To do this more thoroughly, see where their performance affects coworkers, subordinates, contractors and customers.

Step 5: Tasks

Following this, list the tasks that the employee is given and what performance goals they need to reach within specific timeframes. State which tasks the employee will perform and how you will help them to improve during this period.

Step 6: Dates

To put this in context, assign dates for each goal, where applicable. For example, goals related to productivity can be assigned dates quite easily whereas others may be more difficulty to estimate, for instance, those to do with attitude.

Step 7: Monitoring

Remind the employee that you will be monitoring their progress and explain how you will make these assessments.

Step 8: Make it Official

Notify the employee of their expectations, verbally and in writing. If necessary, send them a copy of the Employee Manual and other Policy documents.

Step 9: Feedback

The interview should be a two-way dialogue. Ask them for their opinions. Ask open-ended questions that encourage conversation and help them share information.

Step 10: Signed Copies

At the end of the assessment, ask them to sign the document and give them a copy.

You may also want to keep this for the next review session so you can both look over the tasks you agreed on. Send a copy to HR or enter it into the IT system.

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Download Action Plan Template

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Note: Remind the employee to sign the Action Plan. This does not mean they agree with the assessment but to acknowledge that the review took place.


It’s important to be candid with the person and show them how the process works. You will gain more respect if you show them that you are impartial and want to give them the best opportunity to advance their career.

A performance review is not an excuse to belittle or humiliate employees for poor results. Rather it is a way to examine their weaknesses and develop these into strengths.